The Big Green: History of a Project

I’ve asked my mother (Laura) to do a series of guest posts about her embroidery. Today she presents some of the history of The Big Green and some work-in-progress photos. Follow up posts will show further progress on the work. Over to her:

Several years ago I saw a wonderfully intricate crocheted garden doily in one of my daughter’s pattern books. It measured 12 x 14 inches and was, of course, white. I thought, “ What a wonderful pattern!  But I can do it Better!”  I used afghan weight yarn in a multitude of garden colors. I crocheted yellow sunflowers with dark red centers, red roses, blue and purple delphiniums, pink and yellow daisies, green leaves.   When I started attaching all the flowers together I realized that this was Not working. Instead of an inch or maybe two for the largest flowers, the sunflowers alone are a good foot across.  The flowers are so large and heavy that there is no way that they would stay linked by the delicate structure called for in the instructions. So what to do… Think, think… Inspiration-Ask Mom!  She looks at my project and says I should mount it on a backing sheet for support. I do this and yes it is holding together now. That’s the good news. The bad news – It looks like a bunch of crocheted flowers stuck on a sheet for some reason.  Not Nice.  Again, what to do?   Time passes…Think, think.  Maybe some decorative embroidery around the edges of the crocheted flowers?  So, it begins. I mount The Big Green on a stretcher frame and the garden really begins to grow.

A gold finch is embroidered first (split stitch) since it is my opinion that a sunflower is not complete without one. Buttonhole stitch reinforces the applique stitching on the largest petals and finishes the edges. A ladybug button supplies cute.

Stem stitch outlines other flowers and leaves. Using the same yarn that I crocheted the original flowers with I embroidered similar pink daisy shapes and leaves. (Buttonhole for the pink flowers, stem stitch and scattered straight stitches for leaves) Fly stitch in normal embroidery floss created small ferny shapes. A praying mantis hunts. The ground is a mixture of colors and stitches in floss including French knots, colonial knots, straight stitches, bullions and beads designed to create interesting texture.

Other plants and flowers are outlined in contrasting colors using stem stitch. The alternating green and gold stripe background uses dark green crochet yarn and gold embroidery floss in twisted chain stitch.  The reeds are yarn couched with contrasting green.

The final step is yet to be taken. Finishing. At the moment I am trying to decide just how to finish the edges. I could just turn under the raw edges and hem them and be Done. That appeals. However, an embroidered band framing the piece would be a more elegant solution. So, now I am trying to decide just how to do that. And then the question becomes What do I do with this? A bedspread for the dog to sleep on? No way. But what?

I just love this project. Mom has added some additional details since these photos were taken, so there will be more photos in future follow up posts!

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11 Responses to The Big Green: History of a Project

  1. Julie says:

    This is incredible! It is clear to see where you get your talent, Hannah! How to finish? This needs to go on a wall, after it is shown at say, EGA’s National Seminar! Maybe it could be attached to painters canvas that is stretched on large bars/supports. Add a simple needlepoint border (incorporating all the colors) around to serve as matting. Then a simple frame, unless you have the needlepoint extend to cover the sides of the stretched canvas. Of course, instead of needlepoint, a crocheted edging could do the same serving at mat/frame.

    Incredible!

    • Laura says:

      Thanks for the good words. I have thought of stretching it for the wall and that may very well be the solution I choose. Hanging it as a window curtain is also a possibility-during a Minnesota winter you begin to long for flowers. More crochet for the edging-I have been experimenting with crochet ivy forms but have not been impressed by the results. Ditto, embroidered. Shaped edges are another possible direction. Will keep on keeping on.
      Laura aka Mom

  2. Julia says:

    Hi Hannah,
    Your mother’s work is absolutely beautiful, very creative and colorful.I love it!
    Take care,
    Julia

  3. Gwendoline says:

    No – don’t add a border. What is there is bold and beautiful, and a border would either be insignificant, and therefore a waste of time; or it would detract from the work already done. It’s lovely.

    Gwendoline

    • Laura aka Mom says:

      Indeed. It is a question. A border works only if it is an integral part of the design. Otherwise, it will most likely detract from the work. It should function to stop the eye and direct attention toward the central design as well as provide a natural stopping point. I am working on it.

  4. Marta Brysha says:

    I love the preying mantis. I had to google “colonial knot” as I had never heard of one. I will try them today.

    My recommendation is that you back the work with fabric (as you would for a quilt, but with a layer of heavy canvas between. This will give the work a solid backing and prevent sagging in the future.
    Well done!

    • Laura aka Mom says:

      Rats. I had not thought of sagging. It sounds like a good recommendation except that I dont believe I have it in me to do it. I’d better start now saying everyday over and over, ” I Like sags. Sagging is Interesting. What a nice sag! ”
      Laura aka Mom

  5. Rachel says:

    It looks full of life and vigour.

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